Last year’s edition of the Mountlake Terrace High School boys basketball team reached heights the program hadn’t seen in years, with a win-loss record of 23-4 and a fourth place finish at the WIAA 3A State Championships. This year’s team will be hard pressed to match that kind of success as three of last year’s five starters were lost to graduation. But Head Coach Nalin Sood is optimistic heading into the season, due mostly from what he sees in his two returning starters from last year’s squad, Loren Lacasse and Greg Bowman.
“Our leaders are Loren and Greg and they want to go out on a great note and have a great senior year,” Sood said as Terrace prepared for their season opener on Tuesday, Dec. 3, against the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. at Mountlake Terrace High School.
Lacasse and Bowman will be featured heavily in a revamped Hawk offense that saw balanced scoring from all five starters last season. The two Terrace seniors may have to carry more of the scoring load for the Hawks this year (Lacasse averaged 11.3 points per game last year, Bowman 12.9 per game), but Sood is stressing that success will come only through a total team effort.
“We’re going to have 20 games this year and I guarantee you on the top of the scouting report for Terrace is going to be Greg Bowman and Loren Lacasse,” Sood stated. “Everybody knows that. So what are these guys going to do to deflect some things, and to get their teammates involved? We can’t have just a supporting cast; we’ve got to have five guys working together, a great synergy, a great chemistry, everybody understanding their role.”
With Sood relying on Bowman and Lacasse for team leadership, it was only natural to make the two co-captains for this year’s squad. “It was unanimous, two to zero; Coach Philly (Assistant Coach Johnny Phillips) and I decided the captains,” Sood said.
“We elect captains in different ways every single year. This year it’s so obvious,” Sood continued. “They’re the cornerstones of the program. They’re the hardest workers, they’re the best in the classroom — not GPA overall — just they’re attitude, they’re maturity, and they’ve been on varsity the longest. So it was unanimous that they’re our captains this year and they’re very well-deserving.”
Along with Bowman and Lacasse, the 2013-2014 squad includes Yoel Tekle, Yonnas Tewolde and Isaiah Green, all who saw some action last year. New to this year’s are Matthew Moisant, Prescott Day, Gabe Altenberger, Derek Anyimah and Shimron Masih.
While Sood doesn’t want the squad to be measured against the very successful 2012-2013 team, he does believe they can create their own identity and achieve a high mark. “I think the potential for this team is unbelievable,” he stated. “The potential for this team can be as high as they want it to be. Some coaches walk in and are like, ‘oh, I’m just not sure. Here’s what our ceiling is.’ (But) I think the potential for this team is great. I am excited about coaching this team, and optimistic.”
That optimism is moderated some as Sood begins to talk about Terrace’s opponents in the tough Wesco 3A South Conference. “There’s more parity in the league, and I don’t think we’re going to see anybody run away with it like we have, or like Glacier Peak has, in the past,” he declared.
“I think Meadowdale’s got every kid back from last year. Shorewood hasn’t lost very many guys. Shorecrest has way more guys coming back than they lost. And Glacier Peak is Glacier Peak; they’re a great program.”
The Hawks won’t have long before they jump into league play on Dec. 13 against Meadowdale. The season will also include key non-league matchups against Franklin on Dec. 14 at Highline Community College, and Central Catholic of Portland on Jan. 20 at Showare Center in Kent.
To view the entire MTHS Hawks schedule, click here.
— Story and photo by Doug Petrowski